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Old 11-23-2010, 08:30 PM
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Default Death Wobble, Why?

I hope this thread helps some people out! I also don't want anyone to be scared of getting themselves into a lifted truck, if you want to do it do it!! This will happen if you lift or not, it can be fixed as well!

Death Wobble is very different then the vibration some guys feel when their CV shafts are on too big of an angle. That vibration is very small and can be tollerated. Death wobble is shown in the videos below, VERY different!!

I did take the information from Jeep sites. They seem to be the most affected vehicle out there, and in turn they have the most information on it.

Death Wobble – a violent shaking at a certain speed or after hitting a bump which vibrates the entire front end viciously. Almost feels like the front end of the truck is going to fall off. The only way to stop the Death Wobble (from now on will be referred to as DW) is to slow down to a lower speed. Should not be confused with warped rotors causing a slight vibration in the brake pedal and steering wheel. DW is VERY apparent, and you will know you have it when it happens. It is important to slow down carefully when you have DW, pull to the shoulder carefully. DO NOT SLAM ON THE BRAKES!!

DW can be due to a number of things, lift height is not one of those. Here are a list of causes of DW:

1) Worn out tie-rod or draglink ends
2) Worn out steering stabilizer
3) Warped front rotors
4) Worn out lower control arm or trackbar bushings
5) Loose suspension bolts/components (LCA bolts, trackbar bolts, trackbar bracket)
6) Wheels out of balanced
7) Tire tread uneven
8 Alignment out of whack
9) Improper driveline angles due to improper caster

These aren’t all the causes of DW, and there may be others, but these are the major contributors to DW itself. Important: Lift height does not cause DW, but improper parts or installation can cause DW to happen.

So here are some solutions, ranging from easiest/cheapest to hardest/most expensive:

1) Get an alignment, balance tires, check pressure in tires. Make sure toe (the difference of distance between the front two tires and the rear two tires) is at least 1/8” in, no more. Castor should be set close to stock, remember, most alignment shops don’t even bother to add shims to lower control arms since it takes a lot of time and effort. Make sure you ask them to do a full and complete alignment to specs.

2) Replace stock steering stabilizer with an aftermarket steering stabilizer

3) Check if rotors are warped, replace if necessary

4) Make sure all suspension components (LCA’s, trackbar, trackbar
bracket, shocks, swaybar) are all tightened to spec. Sometimes components get loose or out of whack after a couple hundred miles or a wheeling trip. The bolts that need to be checked most are the lower control arm bolts, the trackbar bolts, the jam nuts on the adjustable components, etc)

5) Check/Replace worn tie-rod/draglink/balljoints. Park next to a curb with the tires along the curb, turn the steering wheel towards the curb and have a friend watch and see if any steering parts have slop or play.

6) Replace stock suspension components with after-market products (adjustable lower and upper control arms and adjustable trackbar)

7) Dial in pinion angles by adjusting the lengths of the upper control arms

8 Get a new trackbar bracket

9) Check steering box for damage or stress, replace if necessary

10) Buy new tires/rims

11) GO LONGARMS!!! 90% it fixes DW.



Death Wobble is not the easiest thing to get rid of, nor is it the easiest thing to find and cure. It can be an expensive venture, and is not the same for every truck. It is not lift height that matters, people have tried to get bigger and better lifts but does not cure the problem. It is important to be persistent with DW, but remember, it’s not worth spending too much money on unless you definitely want a lift and know what you are doing.

If you do have a case of DW, it is important to check your steering components and suspension components. The violent shaking can sometimes ruin tie-rod ends, bushings, and loosen bolts.

Also bigger tires and type of tire can cause death wobble. Some tires have more pull then others and this can start a chain of reaction. Check inflation pressures from side to side. If they’re equal, have the tires cross-rotated. If the problem goes away or gets better, the tires are likely the problem.





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Last edited by ScatPak07; 11-23-2010 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:34 PM
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Here is death wobble you might want to have!

Found it when looking for Death Wobble vids haha

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Old 11-23-2010, 08:37 PM
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An excellent and informative posting that will help out alot of members. WTG Reps to you.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:40 PM
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Excellent post. Lifting a truck changes the truck's suspension geometry. That geometry is critical to handling and how that truck may react when the suspension is articulated on the road. Motorcycles can be affected the same way, resulting in a "tank-slapper", which is basically the same thing. Interuption of the normal oscillation of the front wheels, due to an unstable suspension angle or set-up.

I gotta admit, I like Skatpak07's "wobble" much more...........

Last edited by OldMoparMan63; 11-23-2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:44 PM
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Thanks RansRam!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMoparMan63 View Post
Excellent post. Lifting a truck changes the truck's suspension geometry. That geometry is critical to handling and how that truck may react when the suspension is articulated on the road.
I agree with you 100%. If you get a lift that does correct the angles of the suspension components you should be fine. An alignment will help with the camber issues of the tires.

Really you always have to be careful with everything you add onto your truck. There is always a possibility of something happening
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScatPak07 View Post
Here is death wobble you might want to have!

Found it when looking for Death Wobble vids haha

Good find, That would cause instant death for me ..........
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:00 PM
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Pretty good write up!

My .02: The upper end of the castor range should be reduced as your suspension lift goes up. That's my experience with Jeeps at least. If the OEM specs call for 5-7*, you should try to get closer to 5* with a lift.

Also, a steering stabilizer is not a fix for death wobble. In theory, a dialed-in front end should not need a stabilizer. If you have DW and a stabilzer makes it go away, all you have done is masked a problem that will appear somerwhere else.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:07 PM
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I agree with the comment about the stabilizer. I too agree and if it does fix such a big problem with such a small part it will come back. I think if your stabilizer is worn it should be replaced just to help out the front end, I doubt it will fix the DW on its own.

I did take the info from a few sites and put it into one. I wanted to help out the members on the forum. I am not sure myself as to what will fix the problem, but I took the most common ones I found out there. I wanted to help separate the perception of the CV shaft vibration being death wobble.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:12 PM
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Seeing that video (not the Nissan one) reminded me that I had experienced DW in my old '53 Willys M38A1. I had calked it up to most likely well worn suspension componants (40 years old at the time). It may have started from hitting a bump the wrong way, if i recall it happened only once to me, was disconcerting and dramatic but being an old F-head, incapable of any great speed, easily brought to a stop.

Seeing the other video (yes the Nissan one) now reminds me of why my gf (now the wife) refused to ever ride in the thing again after!

Thank you ScatPak for the information, I'll owe you a Timmies should we ever meet..
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScatPak07 View Post
......I wanted to help separate the perception of the CV shaft vibration being death wobble.
good idea. Also might want to point out that Death Wobble and Bump Steer are two different things. That distinction took me a while to figure out.

Bump steer is when you hit a pot hole and suddenly find yourself in the next lane. It too pops up when you lift a truck and not everything is dialed in.
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